What is response bias?


Why does response bias happen?


The different types of response bias

Acquiescence bias


Demand characteristics

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This type of bias only occurs because people are part of a study. It’s a bias that arises in experimental scenarios because knowing they are part of a setting where their behavior is being tested makes respondents change their answers.

There are four broad reasons for demand characteristics bias.

  • The first is that simply knowing they're participating in a survey can make people change their behavior accordingly. Some might try to be "good subjects" for the experiment, while others try their best to provide faulty responses to wreck the experiment. People often like to say they exercise more than they actually do and eat healthy food more often than they actually do just because it makes them look like a better person.

  • Another reason for this bias is only true with face-to-face surveys. Here, behavioral aspects of the surveyor, such as how they greet the person, can cause a deviation in the responses.

  • The third reason this bias happens is the prior experiences of the participants in a similar experiment. For example, if Robert has been in such a study before, and he's told he's being interviewed for a similar study, there is a high chance that the knowledge of the same will influence his answers.

  • The fourth reason has do to with culture. When presented with something like a scale— say a rating scale from 1 to 5—people often seem to be biased to select the most extreme options. This type of bias is called extreme response. . Culture plays a big part in dictating whether a person will select neutral or extreme responses.


Habituation bias


Desirability bias

Reducing response bias is essential for a survey because a survey should deliver people’s true feelings—otherwise your results won’t be accurate. Response bias is particularly tricky since it can lead surveyors to reach a wrong conclusion based off responses they incorrectly think are true.

You don’t necessarily need a data analyst or professional surveyor to make sure you avoid these mistakes though.

At Zoho Survey we've already prepared 200+ fact-checked survey templates for every surveying occasion. We’ve ensured they ask the right questions to get the right data.

Happy bias-free surveying!

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